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James Tour and the Challenge to Theistic Evolution from Synthetic Chemistry

David Klinghoffer

James Tour

On a new ID the Future podcast, Sarah Chaffee talks with biologist Ann Gauger about the new Theistic Evolution critique. After reviewing some of the contents of this intellectual feast, they focus on the chapter by Rice University synthetic chemist James Tour, “Are Present Proposals on Chemical Evolutionary Mechanisms Accurately Pointing Toward First Life?” His answer is an emphatic no.

Listen to the conversation here.

Dr. Gauger explains what synthetic chemistry means and elaborates a little on Dr. Tour’s exciting work in nanotechnology with its implications for fighting cancer. The bottom line is that a chemist like Tour, a very distinguished one, knows from a career’s worth of lab work how painstakingly difficult it is to synthesize molecules you want — that is, in a modern lab designed (intelligently designed) for such a purpose. Origin-of-life scenarios can’t, obviously, summon a laboratory and a team of top chemists at the dawn of life’s history and must therefore, if they refuse to consider ID, picture as possible things occurring in the wild that are difficult to accomplish with all the expertise and equipment available to Dr. Tour and his colleagues.

Only design can overcome that challenge. Yet TE proponents won’t consider it. That’s one of a variety of scientific and philosophical problems covered in this comprehensive yet accessible book.

Photo: James Tour, speaking at University of Waterloo, via YouTube.